Some call the Waste Management Phoenix Open “The People’s Open,” as it is the PGA Tour’s biggest event in terms of attendance. That is, until COVID hit Arizona perhaps harder than anywhere in the nation, other than Los Angeles County. Under normal yearly circumstances, the biggest city in Arizona is Phoenix, with Tucson a distant second. When the Waste Management is being played, TPC Scottsdale Stadium would be the third largest city in the state. In 2021, that won’t be the case, but there will be lot of golf action to be consumed from a distance. In many ways, I am more into DFS for the Waste Management than I am for the Super Bowl, as there is just more action.
Coming out of last week’s controversial but wide-margin win by Patrick Reed at Torrey Pines, there are a number of players who come to Phoenix red hot in terms of daily fantasy sports. Tony Finau is a Top 10 machine, but not in the field this week. When he is – snap him up, perhaps at Riviera in two weeks.
TPC Scottsdale is a Tom Weiskopf design, pure desert tract built specifically for the PGA Tour and high drama. Historically, the players are able to go low and, because of the way the course is mounded. the fans in attendance all have a good view to see the action. There are some reachable par fives and even a par four for those willing to go for it in terms of course strategy, which is more and more common on the PGA Tour these days. There is plenty of water on TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course, especially on the tricky finishing hole, but overall, expect scores to be lower than at Tour venues such as Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and definitely Riviera.
The weather in Phoenix for the Waste Management event is projected to be basically perfect, and will serve as a powerful ad for more people to flee the snowy East Coast, or other high-tax states, and move to Scottsdale. The temperature is slated to be between 70 and 75 each day and sunny, without any meaningful wind. Compared to damp and soft Torrey Pines last week, the Tour players in the field should have an easier time, not just because of the nature of the course, but by the projected kindness of Mother Nature.
Past champions are always a good place to start your DFS research, and two jump out at me. Gary Woodland ($8,300) isn’t making a ton of cuts or playing up to his normally high standards, but it is early in the year, and he’s a historical DFS stud, as well as a recent 2018 champion. The 2019 champion, Rickie Fowler ($8,600), tends to be expensive when there are others to like. Brooks Koepka ($8,800) is tempting as the 2015 champion, but he’s coming off a recent swing coach break-up, with him trying to snap his driver (unsuccessfully) over his shoulders last week. I love Brooks for DFS, but I think he’s an avoid for this week. I need to see him settle things down before get gets one of my six spots in my lineup. Lastly, Hideki Matsuyama ($9,800) is a very reliable DFS golf pick in any week, but this week, he’s a two-time past champion (2016 and 2017), thus a recent champion at this venue. Don’t be shocked if he three-peats in 2021.
Here’s a Proposed Partial Lineup for DFS Golf at The Waste Management Phoenix Open 2021 (using DraftKings Values)
J. Rahm $11,200 (DK)
W. Zalatoris $9,000 (DK)
__________ $7,400 (DK)
__________ $7,300 (DK)
H. Norlander $7,500 (DK)
__________ $7,100 (DK)
Remaining cash $500!!!!
With Jon Rahm ($11,200) you get a red hot PGA Tour superstar who was in contention last week at Torrey Pines and who is also (like FIGJAM Phil) an Arizona State alumnus. He also knows TPC Scottsdale and desert golf well. He’s at the top of the DFS board on DraftKings for a reason, and I agree with him at the top of this core lineup.
Will Zalatoris at $9,000 isn’t too high of a price for another guy playing well in San Diego, but what sold me was his 22 of 23 for making cuts. When you miss cuts in daily fantasy sports, your lineup tends to need the winner or second-place player to even have a chance, versus the sharks out there. Zalatoris is a good bet to not just make the cut, but I’d like to see him rock a Top 10 this week.
Henrik Norlander from Sweden at $7,500 on DraftKings is my more out-there pick for the week. Last week, he eked out a second-place finish, so at his price, and with him clearly playing well, I’ve got a spot for him this week in Phoenix. I love picking European players, as there seems to be a pricing issue, likely from lack of familiarity (or low ownership percentage), that keeps them more affordable. Tommy Fleetwood was someone I rode as long as I could in DFS golf, until everyone figured out that his swing is smoother than his hairdo. Norlander could be the next Euro Tour horse to ride.
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• You get all of our sports for a year for $99
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• I’ve got a cut-making player who has been a total DFS gem for all of last year, and who was recently contending to win in the not-so-distant past.
• Two more players who are priced right and who have been playing very well in recent weeks.
• Some alternate moves that you can use to tweak your lineup, considering I left us $500 in extra money.
Brandon Steele ($7,400) has been my best DFS workhorse. He has been killing for me all of last year, and he nearly won the Sony Open a few weeks ago. At his price, he just seems to be too good of a value to resist. You know you have a good pick on your hands when your buddies start picking him every week, too, for your head-to-head battles. Steele is that guy for me, and I plan to keep riding him.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,300) is an Argentinian player who is a little under the PGA Tour radar, but with nine of 11 cuts made, and at his $7,300 price, I like him as a cut-making machine. We need those every week.
Sebastian Munoz $7,100 is a proven tour winner, who also has relatively recent Top 10 finishes. The Columbian player is somehow under the radar this week in Phoenix, thus part of my lineup in the “please make the cut, but it would be better to nail a Top 10” guy.
Alternative Moves …
We left $500 in cash on the table in my lineup above, thus there are many other variations you could make for the week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Allow me to propose some of what I am suggesting.
The A-List Values
• Webb Simpson ($10,100) is last year’s champion, but he’s a little spendy this year, although not as much money as Rahmbo.
• Hideki Matsuyama ($9,800) is a two-time recent champion, and a cut-making master, who could easily get you a Top 10 finish. He’s still in the A-List price range, but I wouldn’t fault you if you went deep.
• There is nothing not to like about Justin Thomas ($10,800) other than his price on DraftKings this week. He’s nearly perfect on cuts, and is close to a lock for a Top 10 finish. Watching this skinny young man hit a golf ball in person is life-changing.
The B-List Values
• Gary Woodland ($8,300) isn’t playing the best golf of his life, with no Top 10s and three of seven cuts made, which is why he is priced this low this week. He’s a somewhat risky pick because of past performance, but his pedigree is strong.
• Sam Burns ($7,700) really fizzled out at the Famers Insurance Open in San Diego with a 75, but he did finish Top 20. He’s five for seven on cuts, and is showing some strong upside, especially thanks to his putting.
• Sepp Straka ($7,100) of Austria is another Euro pick who I love. He played well at the Sony with a T-25. He meets the cuts-made standard at nine of 11 this year, and averages a pretty high FPG of 76.5. At his price, he could be a C-list value. I consider him a bit of a tweener this week, but who cares, so long as he plays well enough to allow you to go strong on some other big-budget boys.
The C-List Ultra-Values
This is where the money is made, right, guys? The three rules of real estate are: value, value, value … Wait, that isn’t right. But you get the idea, as we want our subscribers to sneak in some good value every week.
• Patton Kizzire ($7,000) is strong on the cuts and played extremely well the last time out at the Sony, thus finishing with a 64. His price and his likelihood to make a cut makes him tempting.
• Bo Hoag ($6,700) is a 32-year-old tour pro quietly playing some good PGA Tour golf, including at T-18 last week. He hasn’t won on tour, nor is a lock on making the cut, but that’s why he’s priced where he is. GPP fodder here, fellas.
• If you are up for an age discrimination pick for this week, 53-year-old Steve Sticker ($6,300) is a way-off-the-grid choice, but other Champions Tour guys have made cuts this year, including Jerry Kelly and FIGJAM Phil. If Phil were in the field this week, I would have taken a look at him at the right price. Old guys can still play, even if the kids are crazy long.
• I don’t hate my USC Trojan brother, Jamie Lovemark ($6,200) in DFS this week at Phoenix, but there might be others that I would like to take first, unless I was very cash-strapped or trying some deep GPP strategy.
• If you want to go deep state, QAnon conspiracy-level picks, how about one out of nine cuts made Ted Potter Jr. ($6,200). Note that last cut he made was last week at Torrey Pines, and resulted in a T-18. Do you have the stomach for someone this high risk, because the reward could be quite high, as we learned last week?
COVID 19 Warning:
Keep an eye out on DraftKings, FanDuel, Twitter, or PGATour.com for anybody who comes down with COVID. I don’t know if we would want to sneak an alternate player into the mix, but you sure as hell don’t want to lose a spot in a lineup to someone who comes down with COVID. These last-minute COVID cancelations have impacted recent NBA and NHL DFS lineups for us, and we want you to keep an eye out.
• Here are the Power Rankings for the Waste Management Phoenix Open 2021 from PGATour.com
• Here is the history of the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course.
• Here is a complete list of past winners at The Phoenix Open.
• Here are some odds on who might win this week at the Phoenix Open. They seem to like Webb Simpson, and why not, right?
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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